Russianism, Russism, or Russicism is an influence of Russian language on other languages. In particular, Russianisms are Russian or russified words, expressions, or grammar constructs used in Slavic languages, languages of CIS states and languages of the Russian Federation.
However, the scope of the Russian language influence is wider. For example, in Italian language Russisms rank fifth and sixth after Anglicisms, Gallicisms, Germanisms, Hispanisms, and Arabisms. The difference between russianisms (russisms) in, say, the Italian language and the Ukrainian language is that in Italian Russisms stay for original Russian notions which did not exist in Italian and thus, Italian had to loan such words to describe Russian concepts, whilst Ukrainian uses Russianisms to replace existing Ukrainian words, which describe Ukrainian concepts.
In his own researches Jovan Ajduković reinterpret and innovate the "theory of transfer" of lexical borrowing (е.g., Rudolf Filipović 1986, 1990) and introduce the "theory of approximate copying and activation" of contact-lexemes.
In the "theory of transfer", the concept of Russianism (Russism) in lexicographical sources in the broader sense means (1) an unmotivated or motivated word of Russian origin which has kept a strong formal-semantic connection with the corresponding word in Russian (e.g. Serb. baćuška, votka, dača, samizdat, sputnjik, uravnilovka), (2) an unmotivated or motivated word of Russian origin which has partially or completely lost its formal-semantic connection with the original Russian word owing to adaptation (e.g. Serb. blagovremen, iskrenost, istina, pravda, ljubimac, ljubimica, predostrožan, predostrožnost), (3) an unmotivated or motivated word of non-Russian origin borrowed through Russian (e.g. Serb. agitprop, agitpropovski, almaz, bandura, aul, kilka, tajga, čaj, korsak, jantar, kumis, kaftan, aršin) and (4) an unmotivated or motivated of Russian or non-Russian origin borrowed into the receiving language through a transmitter language (e.g. Maced. boljar, kolhoz, sovhoz, kolhozovština). For example, the transmitter language in Russian-Macedonian language contacts is Bulgarian or Serbian (Ajdukovic 2004: 94; 340).
In the "theory of approximate copying and activation" (so-called "Ajdukovic's Theory of Contacteme"), the concept of Russianism (Russism) means a word having one or more "independent contactemes", which have arisen under the dominant influence of Russian (e.g. Serb. vostok, nervčik, knjiška, bedstvo, krjak). Jovan Ajduković introduce the term "contacteme" for the basic unit of contact on each separate level of language. He distinguish "contact-phoneme", "contact-grapheme", "contacteme in distribution of sounds", "prosodic contacteme", "derivational contacteme", "morphological contacteme", "semantic contacteme", "syntactic contacteme", "stylistic contacteme", "contact-lexeme" and "contact-phraseme" (e.g. Serb. čovek u futroli, Baba Jaga, pali borac, planska privreda, široke narodne mase, Sve srećne porodice liče jedna na drugu, svaka nesrećna porodica nesrećna je na svoj način) (Ajdukovic 2004: 99; 340) (see also Ajdukovic's Homepage).
Russianisms and Russification
In countries that have long been under the influence of Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and modern Russia, Russianism is a direct result of "russification", when native words and expressions were replaced with Russian ones. Russianisms are especially frequent in Ukrainian and Belarusian, as the languages linguistically close to Russian.
Examples of russianisms in Ukrainian would be "часи" (časy, "clock") instead of "годинник" (hodynnyk), "ковьор" (kov'or "carpet") instead of "килим" (kylym), "празнувати" (praznuvaty, "to celebrate") instead of "святкувати" (svjatkuvaty), and many others. Examples from Moldavian include "odecolon" and "subotnic".
Depending on speaker's region and social status, his/her use of russianisms may be as high as 50 per cent,as happened in Moldovan dialect of Romanian language (the closer to Russia the higher). Use of russianisms results in creation of Russian-Ukrainian or Russian-Belarusian pidgins (called surzhyk and trasianka accordingly).
Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, russianisms are still penetrating into national languages due to Russia's cultural and linguistical influence in post-Soviet states (via media, trade, politics etc.).
- Nicolai, p. 11.
- Mansvetova E.N. On the problem of semantic differentiation of Slavisms and Russism // Research on semantics. - Ufa, 1980. - pp. 20-30.
- Jovan Ajdukovic, Russisms in Serbo-Croatian Dictionaries. Principles of Adaptation. Dictionary, Foto Futura, Beograd, 1997, 331 (Abstract)
- Jovan Ajdukovic, "An Introduction to Lexical Contact: The Theory of the Adaptation of Russisms In South and West Slavic Languages", Foto Futura, Beograd, 2004, 364 pp.
- Giorgio Maria Nicolai. Dizionario delle parole russe che si incontrano in italiano. Biblioteca di cultura. Roma: Bulzoni Editore, 2003. 529 pp.